Spicers Hidden Vale Retreat is 1hr 15min from Brisbane and is the meeting point for your Spicers Scenic Rim Trail experience and the destination for your first night of the 5-day walk.
Day 1 - Spicers Hidden Vale - Grandchester. Spicers Hidden Vale is a historic 12,000-acre former cattle station. A number of buildings, including the barn and Chinese cottage are over 100 years old. You will learn about the history of the property including the unfortunate burning down (twice) of the homestead exactly 99 years apart. It’s said that Ian Fleming got his inspiration for James Bond 007 from former British spy and Hidden Vale resident Sidney Cotton. After the welcome, we enjoy a short walk over to the Hidden Vale Wildlife Centre, a purpose-built $5m facility designed to rehabilitate and breed endangered animals in partnership with the University of Queensland. Wildlife we may come across include White Cheeked Wallabies, Australian King Parrots and Wedged Tailed Eagles. Hidden Vale is home to a healthy Koala population so sightings are possible. As the sun starts to set you’ll join the market garden tour learning about the produce & unique methods used by our chefs. Spicers Hidden Vale is home to the renowned One Chef Hat restaurant Homage, led by Head Chef Ash Martin. You’ll learn how fire has become integral to his cooking following the burning down of Homage in the 2018 fire. Tonight will be a dining experience as you taste foods from across the Scenic Rim region and the retreat itself. All of the dishes have been prepared with an element of fire and you’ll be able to watch the chefs cook in their outside coal-fired kitchen. After dinner, you’ll retire for a good night’s rest before we embark tomorrow.
Day 2 - Spicers Hidden Vale to Spicers Mount Mistake Farmhouse. After a hearty breakfast, we’ll board our purpose built 4WD to be transferred through our private nature reserve to the Spicers Scenic Rim Trailhead. All your luggage will be transported for you. Over the next five hours, we’ll slowly ascend through our private Nature Refuge. As we climb higher through the western part of the Scenic Rim you will learn about the history and ecology of the region. Mount Mistake is part of the ‘Main Range,’ a collection of over 40 mountain peaks, which are the remnants of a volcano that was active some 24 million years ago. The panoramic views open up as we head towards the ridgeline. The trail weaves through open eucalypt forests. Your mind will start to clear as you breathe in the fresh mountain air and the bird calls will become louder as your ears tune into the sounds of the bush. As we make our way along the ridgeline we enter a unique ecosystem, which protects an endangered species of rock wallaby. We’ll stop for morning tea on top of a rocky outcrop with views as far as the eye can see. Your guide will prepare you a cup of tea while you rest and take in your surroundings before we continue on. Throughout the trail, you’ll notice the beautiful xanthorrhoea grass trees with their green spiky bloom and charcoal trunk that feels like dragon scales. Grass trees are long-lived and slow growing with a lifespan of up to 250 years. You’ll come across trees that are up to 4m tall and hundreds of years old. As you stand below and peer up you’ll feel a sense of wonder. Your first day of walking is rewarded with the most incredible views along the range. You’ll walk along the ridgeline with plenty of time to pause and take it in. We’ll take the opportunity to have lunch while enjoying the views over the Little Liverpool Ranges and the fresh breezes that rise from the valley below. As we come out of the forest and into the farmland the ground rolls gently towards the Spicers Mount Mistake Farmhouse. You’ll be greeted with a well-earned beverage arriving with a sense of achievement having completed your first walk. With some free time in the afternoon, you might want to relax and enjoy the amazing views, while others might want to take a self-guided stroll to the local waterfall. Each of the six bedrooms has its own private ensuite and after a hot shower we’ll settle in for the evening around the stone fireplace. A hearty dinner will be served on our communal table as we share stories of the day that’s been.
Day 3 - Mount Mistake Farmhouse to Spicers Amphitheatre Eco Cabins. Today we pass over from Spicers land into the Main Range National Park. As you venture forward you will feel the forest folding in around you. The area we are exploring is of national significance following the 1994 declaration by the World Heritage Committee. Some 14 years ago Gondwana rainforests including most of the Main Range National Park was decreed a World Heritage Area. You will learn about the fascinating ecology of the rainforest and surrounding ecosystems along your journey. There is also a curious history to the region having been extensively logged in the 1900’s. Walking through living history makes you truly appreciate those who fought for national park protection in the region. The path we take is, in fact, an old logging trail and you will see remnants of the past & learn of its history as you traverse the landscape. Today’s walk is smooth going and relatively flat so while its the longest day by distance it’s easily achieved. Today will likely be a day of reflection as you enjoy the chatter with your fellow walkers, learn from your guide and take solace in the quiet stretches. Your mind will clear as it focuses on what’s in front of you rather than the future or the past. In the final stretch of your day we emerge from the forest and onto the ‘winder trail’ you can see the old iron winder that was once used by timber getters to winch the logs along. We turn off the open cut trail and through our final stretch of forest before arriving at Spicers Amphitheatre Eco Cabins. As you walk into camp you’ll see a sense of awe with the light coloured wooden treehouse like cabins set above the forest floor. The eco-cabins have been built to the highest sustainability standards and you’ll enjoy a tour of the camp after you’ve had a hot shower, rested and before congregating in the common pavilion for a hearty dinner & well-earned beverage. You are assured of a good night’s rest in your private cabin with signature Spicers beds, separate room for sorting your gear and a daybed that can be used as a single bed should you prefer. Each cabin has a private balcony with an incredible louvre window that opens up to the views of the valley below and the mountain behind. The camp got its name from its amphitheatre setting, an open circular space with a central space for the cabins. After dinner, you’ll retire to your cabin. As you wind down and drift off you’ll hear birds calling and possibly the throaty ‘ok-ok-ok-ok’ call of the endangered Fleay’s barred frog.
Day 4 - Spicers Amphitheatre Eco Cabins to Spicers Timber Getters Eco Cabins. Setting out after breakfast, today explores a number of ecosystems venturing deep into the national park. The lookout vantage points early in the day offer a spectacular view of Mount Castle. As we descend we become enveloped by the canopy and this natural cover will provide cool temperatures throughout the day. The ecosystems of today’s journey are particularly noticeable starting in a wooded forest with beautiful walkways fringed by boulders & contrasting bright green foliage. We cross a dry rocky creek bed and as you look up and down it’s a magical sight. Enjoy stepping back in time and absorb the forest around you. Large stands of red cedar, white beech and hoop pine once stood proudly in these forests. Search the forest for the subtle reminders of the harvesting that took place here between 1840 and 1985? As we journey deeper we enter an unharvested section of the park and the trees get thicker and taller, don’t forget to look up. In the towering trees above you’ll see giant staghorn air plants, these beautiful plants grow without soil and will grow just about anywhere so long as they receive filtered light & are protected from winds. Keep an eye out for Albert’s lyrebird, the endangered eastern bristlebird and the vulnerable black-breasted button-quail. We’ll take lunch at ‘the cathedral’ a zone of giant Crow’s Ash trees (Australian Teak) hundreds of years old. The circumference of some of these beauties is astounding. As you rest quietly it feels as though you are sitting among a village of elders. As we take our final descent the path crisscrosses the ridge and we take leave of the rainforest and traverse through an ancient eucalypt forest. As the canopy opens you may encounter kookaburras, pale-headed rosellas or if you are lucky a wedge-tailed eagle. Reaching the valley floor we arrive at the source of Dalrymple creek with mountain spring water flowing & a cool green pool to swim in during the warmer months. We’ll rest a while and you can refill your water bottle from the waterfall. From here it is a gentle ascent into Spicers Timber Getters Eco Cabins. Morning tea, lunch & afternoon tea are enjoyed on the trail, arriving into camp in the afternoon.
Day 5 - Spicers Timber Getters Eco Cabins to Spicers Hidden Peaks Cabins. After a restful sleep in your private cabin, we’ll enjoy breakfast before crossing a rocky saddle and re-entering the rainforest with magnificent tree ferns and the sounds of Albert’s lyrebirds before ending with a brief scramble to a rocky outcrop. From here the spectacular views over the northern section of the park are a just reward. Much of the day will be on an open ridgeline where you’ll appreciate the full extent and vastness of the Scenic Rim. You’ll be looking out over the Fassifern Valley, a collective of towns known for vegetable farming and in particular carrots, onions, potatoes, pumpkins & melons. The lake you see beyond, Lake Moogerah, was built in 1903 in order to irrigate the valley. It is one of four major vegetable growing regions in South East Queensland & you would have tasted the produce along your journey. Towards the end our walk we’ll see a monument credited to Allan Cunningham, who in 1828 was the first European to find and explore the region. Cunningham’s discovery seemed to solve the problem of finding a shorter route between Moreton Bay Colony and the newly-discovered Darling Downs. As we complete the descent of Mt Cordeaux, you’ll be quickly transported to our final destination, Spicers Hidden Peaks Cabins, which sits in the shadows of Mt Greville. Join us for a very special dinner, where we celebrate our achievements and fellowship of the past 5 days. After dinner your rustic cabin, with ensuite, crisp linen, fluffy pillows and fireplace awaits. Your five day Spicers Scenic Rim Trail concludes as you depart with memories of a lifetime. If you are continuing on you will be transported to the trailhead to meet the group, the next two nights will be spent at Spicers Canopy Luxury Tents.
- All accommodation: five different exclusive, eco-friendly accommodation stops over five days
- All meals & beverages: meals are prepared by our Spicers chefs & beverages include alcohol
- Hiking equipment: Spicers will provide you with a day pack, water bottles, hiking poles & gaiters
- Knowledgeable guides who provide insights into the history of the region and local plant & animal life
- Any items of a personal nature.
- Any meals or drinks not specified in inclusions.
- Anything not included in the list of inclusions (above).
- Domestic flights, unless specified in inclusions.
- Travel insurance.
Note, we can arrange all travel to and from tour locations, quote for group bookings, and tailor any packages as required.
- Prices may vary due subject to availability and accommodation type, number of travellers and activities.
The initial deposit is refundable for 5 days - a cooling off period long enough for us to send you precise final terms. Note, many of these are still being negotiated but this first payment will be held in trust, giving us time to determine the conditions for final payment without putting this payment at any risk.
Reservations are confirmed on receipt of a non-refundable deposit of $A500 per person or per booking, or the amount specified on your booking. On receipt of your reservation form and deposit, we will, subject to availability, reserve your place on your selected travel module. Additional deposits may be required and will be advised at time of booking. Final payment of land costs are due at least* 60 days prior to arrival and all reservations will be cancelled if full payment is not received by the due date, with loss of deposit. On receipt of your payment, we will send tour information and vouchers. Please ensure that you receive the information before you travel. Bookings made at least* less than 60 days prior to departure must be paid in full. Due to time constraints, tour information and vouchers may be collected on the first day of departure with Wildiaries from its tour guide. These arrangements will be confirmed to you in writing prior to travel. Every reservation amendment will incur an AUD$50.00 charge, subject to availability. Note that if travel documents have been issued, the fee will be AUD$100. *Special conditions may apply to some trips. You will be notified if this is the case.
All cancellations must be made in writing to Wildiaries, and all tours are subject to the following cancellation charges based on the number of days before tour departure: Over 60 days: No refund of tour deposit Between 0 and 60 days: No refund of tour cost There is no refund for any unused portions of the tour once the tour has commenced. [Please note that if the reason for cancellation falls within the terms of any holiday insurance policy which you hold, then any such charges will normally be refunded to you by the insurance company, subject to the terms of your insurance]. Any cancellation fees imposed by hotels, ground operators or other principals or suppliers of goods and services will be charged to you in addition to the cancellation amounts stated above.
Baggage restrictions may apply to charter air travel and small group tours and must be strictly adhered to. We recommend that you ensure you adhere to any weight restrictions indicated.
4. WILD ANIMALS
Please be aware that travel may take you into areas of extreme weather conditions [eg. heat] or bring you in close contact with wild animals. Cases of dehydration and attacks by wild animals are rare, but no tour can guarantee that this will not occur. Neither Wildiaries, its contractors, agents or staff can be held responsible for any injury or incident on your tour. Neither does Wildiaries guarantee sightings of any wild animals, even if these are listed as animals possible to see on a tour.
5. PASSPORT, VISAS & DEPARTURE TAX
The onus is upon you to ensure that passports and visas are valid. Wildiaries, their contractors, agents or staff cannot be held liable for any visas etc. not held by you. The onus is on you to ensure departure tax is included when the airline ticket is purchased prior to arrival in any country.
Wildiaries, its contractors and agents act only as agents for the passenger with respect to services provided, including, but not limited to hotels, restaurants, touring, and all forms of transportation. Wildiaries shall not be liable for any loss whatsoever arising from any cause whatsoever, and without restricting the generality of the foregoing, shall particularly not be responsible for loss or damage arising from any errors or omissions contained in its brochure or other literature, late or non-confirmation or acceptance of bookings, loss or damage caused by delays, sickness, injury or death, whether occasioned by negligence or not. In addition Wildiaries shall have the right at any time at its discretion to cancel any tour or the remainder thereof or make any alteration in route, accommodation, price or other details, and in the event of any tour been rendered impossible, illegal or inadvisable by weather, avalanches, strike, war, government or interference or any other cause whatsoever, the extra expenses incurred as a result thereof shall be your sole responsibility. Wildiaries may at its discretion and without liability or cost to itself at any time cancel or terminate the passenger’s booking and in particular without limiting the generality of the foregoing it shall be entitled to do so in the event of the illness or the illegal or incompatible behaviour of the passenger, who shall in such circumstances not be entitled to any refund. The person making any booking will, by the making of such booking, warrant that he or she has authority to enter into a contract on behalf of the other person/s included in such a booking and in the event of the failure of any or all of the other person/s so included to make payment, the person making the booking shall by his/her signature thereof assume personal liability for the total price of all bookings made by him/her.
7. CHANGES TO SCHEDULES
Although every effort is made to adhere to schedules it should be borne in mind that Wildiaries reserves the right to alter any tour arrangements due to local conditions while providing similar tour inclusions.
Whilst Wildiaries uses its best endeavours to ensure that all anticipated accommodation is available as planned, there shall be no claim of any nature whatsoever against Wildiaries for a refund either in the whole or part, if any accommodation or excursion is unavailable or the passenger was unable to use that service. [Please note that if the reason for cancellation falls within the terms of any holiday insurance policy it is your responsibility to refer the matter to your insurance company to seek a refund].
You must take out comprehensive insurance cover before travel for cancellation, medical expenses, personal baggage and money. This should be arranged at the time of payment of any non-refundable costs to cover you for cancellation at that time.
10. PRICING & INSURANCE
We will do the utmost to keep to the prices published. Should increases be forced on us by tour operators, etc. Wildiaries reserves the right to surcharge without notice. All tour costs are based on all known costs at the time of publication.
(a) This agreement is made subject to and shall be governed by and construed according to the laws of Australia.
(b) Wildiaries cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies or changes which may occur after that time. All materials contained in any brochure and web site including text, maps, graphics and photographs remain the property of Wildiaries and may not be copied or reproduced.
(c) Clients with special dietary problems are advised to warn us in advance of departure.
(d) For flight information on how to get to the starting point of your tour, contact your travel agent. Please ensure that you re-confirm all your flights prior to air travel.
11. MEDICAL & HEALTH
(a)Hospital facilities in remote locations are often unavailable and evacuation can be difficult and expensive. Wildiaries assumes no liability regarding provision of medical care. A Medical Certificate must therefore be filled out and returned to Wildiaries. If you are aged 65 or older, the Medical Certificate must be signed by your physician. Once you have been confirmed on a trip, normal cancellation penalties apply if your doctor does not approve the Medical Certificate.
(b). It is vital that persons with medical problems make them known to us well before departure. The tour leader has the right to disqualify anyone at any time during a tour if he or she feels the tour member is incapable and/or if a tour member’s continued participation will jeopardise the individual involved or the group. Refunds are not given under such circumstances. The tour leader’s decision is final and neither Wildiaries nor the tour leader shall be subject to any claims or liability in respect of such disqualification.
The payment of the deposit OR any other partial payment for a reservation on a tour constitutes consent to all provisions of the conditions and general information contained in this brochure. The terms under which you agree to take these tours cannot be changed or amended except in writing signed by an authorised officer of Wildiaries.
(a) Share Basis for Single Travellers
Accommodations (both hotels and tented) are usually based on double occupancy. If you are travelling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a room-mate if possible. If there is no one with whom you can share, or if you prefer single accommodations, you are requested to pay a Single Supplement Fee.
(b) Tour Information
Whilst Wildiaries makes every effort to ensure accuracy in tour information and descriptions, we are reliant on the tour operators and accommodation providers providing us with accurate data. Since tour operators and accommodation providers are constantly changing facilities and services, we cannot be liable for any errors or omissions herein. If any feature is of critical importance to your holiday, it is your responsibility to ask Wildiaries to check whether such features will be available at the time of occupancy.
Payment of your deposit is acceptance of terms and conditions. I/we understand that by sending the deposit(s) on behalf of myself and everyone in my party is acknowledging that we have read and accept the Wildiaries Terms & Conditions.